Marine helps vets find work rebuilding after Sandy

Kevin Schmiegel is connecting service members with employers and helping rebuild the Jersey shore in the process. CBS News

(CBS News) TOMS RIVER, N.J. -- Bruce Bradford spent 12 years in the Army, fixing vehicles and rebuilding communities in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was discharged in 2010 and has been out of work ever since.

"You put so much into serving your country that once you take the uniform off, it's almost as if you lose a sense of pride and a sense of dignity, because you wake up, and you realize, 'I used to stand for something,'" Bradford says.

That's why Bradford soldiered through a foot injury to get to a veterans' job fair in Toms River, N.J.

Kevin Schmiegel is a retired Marine who runs "Hiring Our Heroes."

"This is not charity, this is about connecting talented young men and women, giving them the tools they need to connect with an employer, and helping them land a career," Schmiegel says.

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Toms River is Schmiegel's hometown and a place that can use the skills of vets who have been to war.

"I think the most important thing about the event for me is that from something bad, something good can come of it," Schmiegel says.

Veteran Bruce Bradford talked with every employer at the Hiring Our Heroes job fair in Toms River, N.J.
Veteran Bruce Bradford talked with every employer at the Hiring Our Heroes job fair in Toms River, N.J.
CBS News

Some 40,000 homes in Toms River were ripped up by Hurricane Sandy. Employers need carpenters, roofers and electricians. Bruce Bradford talked to each one and is waiting on callbacks.

"When you meet people like Bruce, it makes you want to work all the more harder, because here is a person who has a unique skill set and that can immediately impact what's happening on the ground here in Toms River," Schmiegel says.

Before Sandy, Schmiegel had already held more than 300 employment fairs for veterans and connected 10,000 with jobs.

"Being in a job like this is exhausting and it's very rewarding. There have been times where I've actually wanted to walk away from it," he says, but adds, "When your 17-year-old son on Veterans Day tells you how proud he is of you, you keep going."

Schmiegel is a faithful Marine whose mission continues.

  • Elaine Quijano

    Elaine Quijano was named a CBS News correspondent in January 2010. Quijano reports for "CBS This Morning" and the "CBS Evening News," and contributes across all CBS News platforms. She is based in New York.

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